Summer brings plenty of occasions for entertaining, both casual and festive, and strawberries rank high on menus for ease of presentation, color -- and popularity.
For flag-waving days, including the Fourth of July, the red berries can be matched with patriotic accents of white whipped cream and blueberries, as in the following recipe. Phyllo dough makes the crispy containers for this creamy concoction, which is served warm on little pools of strawberry sauce. A sweet summer salute to the red, white and blue.
Note: You can make the sauce a couple of days in advance, and prepare the firecrackers a day ahead of serving time.
Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
1 cup frozen sweetened strawberries, thawed
2 teaspoons orange liqueur or 1 tablespoon orange juice plus 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
For Strawberry Firecrackers:
3 sheets phyllo dough
1/4 cup unseasoned dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) butter, melted
2 pints whole stemmed strawberries
Sweetened whipped cream for garnish
Fresh blueberries for garnish
To make sauce: In blender or food processor, puree strawberries. Stir in orange liqueur or orange juice and zest. Refrigerate, covered, up to 2 days.
To make Strawberry Firecrackers: Heat oven to 500 F. Cut phyllo sheets in half to make six 8-by-12-inch sheets. Cover with damp towel. In small bowl, mix bread crumbs and sugar. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo on work surface, keeping remaining pieces covered, and brush with butter. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the bread crumb mixture. Place a row of 4 or 5 strawberries about 2 inches above long edge of sheet, centering the row to leave ends of sheet uncovered. From long edge, carefully roll up; tuck ends of sheet under. Place seam-side-down on ungreased baking sheet, brush with butter and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the bread crumb mixture. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make 6 rolls. Bake phyllo rolls in center of oven for 5 minutes or until crisp and browned.
To serve: Spoon 2 tablespoons of sauce onto each of 6 plates; place one roll on each plate (see note) and garnish with a dollop of whipped cream and a few blueberries. Serve immediately.
(Note: Rolls can be cut in half on an angle with a serrated knife. Cut carefully with a light sawing motion; phyllo may crumble.)
Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition information per serving: 189 cal., 9 g fat, 21 mg chol., 79 mg sodium, 29 g carbo., 3 g fiber; 2 g protein.
For advance preparation:
Strawberry Firecrackers can be prepared up to one day in advance. Place unbaked firecrackers on baking sheet, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Remove plastic wrap and bake in preheated 500 F oven for 5 minutes.
(Recipe created for AP by the California Strawberry Commission)
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